4 Steps To Choosing a
Nature Based Children’s Book
As a teacher, do you ever feel a bit burnt out with finding fresh new ideas for your classroom? Do you ever wonder how other teachers always have amazing curriculum ideas up their sleeve? The answer just might be in the Children’s room at your local library.
What if I asked you to find a handful of nature-based children’s books and choose one as inspiration for the creation of a STEAM Curriculum Kit? Do you think you could do it? Could you choose the perfect Children’s Book for a Kit ultimately that includes activities in science, technology, engineering, art, and math? I have been amazed to witness how literacy can inspire learning all across the curriculum. These findings prompted me to create the Teaching in the Dirt: STEAM Outdoor e-course!
At this moment, I am now the student faced with a similar challenge. For the REAL Night Out Auction, I have been asked to choose a nature-based children’s book and decorate a table in the theme of the book. This brings me to the question; How do you choose a great Nature Based Children’s Book?
Step One: Research Nature Based books. Find lists, book reviews and create a list. Here is a sample list of my own process and current list.
- Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson
- Blueberry for Sal by Robert McClosky
- Grandpa Green by Lane Smith
- Jack’s Garden by Henry Cole
- The Gardener by Sarah Stewart
- The Wind’s Garden by Bethany Robert
- The Wimp World by Bill Peet
- The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
- The Little House by Virginia Lee Burtons
- The Water Hole by Graeme Base
- On Meadow Street by Henry Cole
Step Two: Read and go through all the books. Do any jump out at you?
Step Three: Ask questions.
- What is the message of the book?
- Does this book fit the season?
- Does this book inspire STEAM Outdoors?
- Does the book connect with age group I am working with?
- Does this book fit my goals?
Step Four: Brainstorm Ideas
Use a Curriculum Webbing technique. Add the name of a book inside the center circle and simply brainstorm ideas. What is the theme of the book? Does it need to connect with your classroom curriculum? Does the book inspire you and the children?
What happens when you can’t decide on a book? This happened to me. There are so many good books out there. First, remember that you have many, many weeks to plan curriculum in during the year. Can’t decide? Pick your top 3 Nature-Based books and use the webbing technique for each. You will quickly find whichever book brainstorm is easiest–that is your book! The best part? You now have 2 more themes to play with at another time.
Have fun with choosing books and playing with Literacy Outside. Share your favorite Nature Based Children’s book in the comments below.